Being a rookie I didn’t know what to expect, Karen and I arrived at the Hampton Beach Casino & and Ballroom around 10:30 to see a party in full force. The place was packed with fellow plungers, some in costume, and supporters, and an 80’s cover band was on stage rockin’. I found my teammates the “No Flockin’ Ideas” from the Plus Company in Nashua and the first words out of everyone’s mouth was “are you ready for this”?
At 11:30, the costume parade began and the changing tents opened, these were giant heated tents to hang out in until it was time to plunge. There were four waves of plungers; we were in the first group. Once changed we headed out toward the beach, you don’t realize how cold it is at first because you are still warm from the tents but, it didn’t take long for the chilly reality to set in.
The wait at the starting line seemed to last forever, I’m not sure if it was the cold or the nervous adrenaline that forcing me to jump up and down. All of a sudden, the crowd started to move forward and I Knew there was no turning back. I remember laughing as I dashed to the water; I plowed in to thigh deep then dropped under. As I came up the cold caused me to take one deep inhale, I think it was the only breath I took until I reached the warmth of the tent.
After changing, we headed back for lunch, laughs and our stories of the experience. Karen and I are new to Special Olympics, my first involvement last summer with softball and now basketball and Karen working with the snowshoe team sponsored by the Plus Company. The plunge event like all events involving Special Olympics had me smiling from the time I arrived to the time I left. When I was I asked how I felt my answer wasn’t “cold” it was “I had a blast, and I will do it again next year”.